News Article

Talking Point: Nintendo's Major Wii U Retail Titles Can Benefit From More eShop Trials and Demos

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A taste before taking the plunge

Whether you want to call them free trials or demos, the ongoing absence — for the most part — of these offerings on the Nintendo eShop stores is noticeable. What's peculiar, at least from our perspective, is why that gap exists with some of Nintendo's finest first-party releases; in an increasingly competitive market not just to earn new customers, but in making money off the existing userbase, Nintendo is letting a potentially low-maintenance but valuable marketing tool go entirely unused.

To contextualise this debate from the beginning, we're going to focus on Wii U — though the argument can certainly be made for equivalent 3DS releases — and on Nintendo's own games. The issue of demos for download-only developers, for example, includes far more nuance and broader considerations; when your game is a budget price and you're running a small studio with very limited funds, producing a trial or demo build is an additional resource strain that may not seem worthwhile. There's also a credible line of thought that says a demo for a download game, in particular, can be negative, as giving away a slice of a smaller title can actually discourage buyers.

What's also beyond doubt is that some retail games simply are not suited to being presented in demo or trial form. Oddly, some of those games are among the few that have received demos on the Wii U eShop, including Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Capcom's series is challenging and borderline impenetrable at the best of times, issues that actually become irresistible qualities after enough time has passed; yet demonstrating the best of that title within a short sample is borderline impossible. Another example of a slow-burner that earns the player's affection through time and practice is Platinum's brilliant The Wonderful 101 — while we're sure the demo for that game has caught the fancy of some, we wouldn't be surprised if it's been a hindrance to others, as it can be overwhelming in its early stages. With those examples we're glad Nintendo and its closest partners aren't all firing out trials of every game; sampling The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD at expos, for example, does little to promote the merits of the experience beyond some attractive visuals, as it is a lengthy adventure game after all.

Yet there are major Nintendo games that are perfectly structured for the demo route that are still absent. Two glaring examples are Super Mario 3D World and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Both terrific platformers of entirely different styles, their suitability is obvious — they're constructed of relatively short, standalone stages. Even the longer stages of Tropical Freeze would be suitable in the form of a trial package of three or four levels, while the shorter experiences of 3D World would perhaps need half a dozen or so stages. But the benefits are obvious — with no plot spoilers to worry about, and with games packed with varied environments and platforming concepts, it's possible to give a tantalising teaser and still leave much to be discovered.

What's surprising with these two examples is that such demos / trials already exist, and thousands of people have played them. We're not even talking about press builds, but those that have been on show at expos and Nintendo promotional events in stores. They're simple in construction, as they have a front-end menu that allow you to choose stages, and that's it. There's nothing fancy happening, just colourful boxes pointing the way to immensely fun games. We're sure other titles, with relatively minor effort, could also do a job with demo builds, though admittedly even those with the existing parts in place would have debatable merits as trials — Pikmin 3 has trial stages that could be used, yet the demo would have to introduce the mechanics is an accessible way.

Yet our point is simple. If Nintendo's retail game fortunes are, at least for this year, going to be largely reliant on first-party content, it'll need every marketing weapon available to drive sales. While it's true that the Wii U has exciting things happening on the eShop, for example, it's still a fact in the mainstream market that retail games and major boxed releases matter for selling consoles. The importance of the download-only market can only be fulfilled with actual monetary success when more Wii U systems are being bought and, importantly, actively used in the home.

We gave two platformer examples, and it's possible that Nintendo hasn't produced demo downloads for these titles due to them being big-ticket items that will secure a high attach-rate with the current Wii U userbase. Super Mario 3D World seems to have done that, as by the end of 2013 it had already sold 1.94 million copies out of 5.86 million Wii U system sales. It's questionable, however, how far Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will go towards that; Nintendo of America highlighted "over 130,000" sales in its first eight days in February, its latest total in Japan is just 72,401 physical copies (Media Create), it's been struggling to stay in the UK top 40 and is 10th in the "recent bestsellers" list on our UK system. These aren't indicative of poor sales as yet — there's not enough data or enough weeks passed to judge that fully — but they look unlikely to be on the same scale as Super Mario 3D World. It's a game that some may put on a wishlist for a later date, others may not be as drawn to the DK brand as they are to a 3D Mario, and others may feel they're just fine with its Wii predecessor.

Word of mouth, reviews throughout the media and videos on YouTube can all help, of course, yet we're sure all would agree that free extras are always welcome. If Nintendo could grab four levels (whether the same as its pre-release expo builds or updated versions) and offer them as a free download, some doubters could be won over. It would also show that Nintendo's not going to release a big-name game and expect all Wii U owners to simply jump in without hesitation; it can help woo those users.

We'd not only love to see more of Nintendo's top-tier games promoted through post-release trials, but to utilise demos for building hype, too. We suspect many in the Nintendo Life community would temporarily lose their composure if, a month ahead of its release, two or three tracks for Mario Kart 8 were released as a "special preview" — an idea sort of used for Rayman Legends, but Ubisoft was in damage control mode after delaying it for a multi-platform release. Again, it's nothing that gamers keen enough to attend an expo haven't enjoyed, but having it on our own Wii U at home would add to the excitement. We think a Wii U owner showing their friends just how amazing MK8 looks in action as they race around the track would have a more direct, effective impact than any TV commercial. Likewise later this year with Super Smash Bros. on Wii U and 3DS later this year — give us a dozen fighters, two arenas and one mode of simple battles and we'll play it for hours. We'll likely, as Wii U owners, talk about it, write about it, post videos and share it with the world. We'll show others why the best of Nintendo's games are must haves; all before they're even in stores.

We're not suggesting that Nintendo isn't improving in these areas. The free trial periods of Wii Sports Club are excellent initiatives to encourage Wii U players to try and perhaps buy, while the free download version of Wii Fit U that could be 'bought' with a Wii Fit Metre was a nice idea that was, unfortunately, not exactly screamed from the rooftops. Much credit should go to work that's been put in with third-party partners, too, such as the excellent Bravely Default demo with progress that then transfers into the full game save. That latter example, tellingly, arrived before the game; it was direct marketing, in that respects, and perhaps contributed to that game's impressive U.S. sales in February, considering that it was a release some would argue had limited mainstream appeal.

Nintendo also has tools on Wii U that can simply be used better. If a pre-release trial — or even a normal demo — comes out for a major Wii U game, more can be done on the system's front end than a notification message few will read; that icon does sit, inconspicuously, in a spot easy to ignore. The first thing we should see on WaraWara Plaza is Satoru Iwata's Mii standing next to our own doing a "Direct" gesture before telling us there's a new Mario Kart 8 trial in the eShop. Miiverse messages should do the same, beyond giving us information on the latest updates to search functionality and the option to follow authorised developer accounts.

By targeting Wii U owners, making them feel like valued consumers and giving them delicious teases of the most exciting games, Nintendo can spread positive word of mouth. As consumers we've never been so chatty, whether speaking to a camera on our YouTube channels, tweeting, writing status updates on Facebook or posting on forums. Nintendo, despite commendable strides forward, often still behaves as if it's 2006/2007, when social networking was barely a part of life and everything it touched turned to gold. Yet the world is now more connected, and there's more competition, and some of what Nintendo does struggles to gain the traction it deserves. In this current day climate, the veil of secrecy should be lifted a little, and gamers should see for themselves why they should want to buy Nintendo's games, not be expected to jump simply "because it's Nintendo". Some of us are keen enough fans that we will, but it's the majority that need more persuasion that help Nintendo's profits return.

While the numbers are low by home console standards, there are millions of Wii U owners waiting to be impressed and to share that with friends, family and strangers on the internet. Nintendo can spread the word in many ways, and demos and trials are an area of untapped potential. As long as they don't have dastardly play limits, of course.

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User Comments (108)

King47

#1

King47 said:

I found it off that dk tf didn't have a demo. They can have a few levels for trials. I hope Nintendo isn't being arrogant in thinking their games dying need demos.

K-Gamer

#2

K-Gamer said:

I can imagine MK8 getting a trial or Mario Circuit or GBA Mario circuit.

JaredJ

#5

JaredJ said:

I hate when Wii U doesn't get a demo of a game that other systems do.

FullbringIchigo

#6

FullbringIchigo said:

and get rid of the useage limit of the demos too

only being able to play a demo a few times before it's blocked for good is dumb

unrandomsam

#7

unrandomsam said:

I think eshop only stuff is the games that should have a demo most. (The chances of it making much difference as to whether I will buy a first party game are less).

That is the reason I don't have code of princess yet. (Either a demo or a price drop is necessary before I will get it). Even more so because the USA has had 50% off loads of times.

ericflapjack

#9

ericflapjack said:

I see no downside to free demos on the eShop, and I wish Nintendo would demo out their bigger titles. Just because a game like Super Mario 3D World has a high attach rate doesn't mean everyone is going to buy it. Those still on the fence could be persuaded by a free demo of an introductory level. It could certainly help a game like Tropical Freeze since a number of people may think it's just more of the same, but a love for it could be rekindled by a trial version.

Samurai_Goroh

#11

Samurai_Goroh said:

I thought of this a few weeks earlier when I went to a store with a Wii U demo kiosk and tried demos of 3D World and Wind Waker. If they produced said demos for kiosks, what's stopping them from making them available on eShop for everyone who already has the system to try at the comfort of their homes?

Porky

#12

Porky said:

Not really benefit, people already know what to expect from titles such as Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. They don't need demos.

cracked376

#13

cracked376 said:

I download most of the games from the E-shop so I don't have to worry about my kids damaging the disc. The Tank! Tank! Tank video looked like a fun game so I downloaded the demo. But it does not offer the option to purchase the full game for download for the E-shop, I ended up buying it at best buy for $20. Why is Nintendo land not on the E-shop for download.

sinalefa

#15

sinalefa said:

I agree they need more demos, even if they are sure that the game will sell. With the limited usage, they can make sure no one will skip the retail release intending to "survive" by playing only the demo.

But the demo must be done correctly. I skipped both Monster Hunter 3 and Zombi U based on the demo. I know other people were turned off by W101's demo.

Finally, demos are more eShop traffic. 3DS has a lot of demos, and it would be nice to go there to see if there is a new demo this week, as we check during the download week updates.

Sceptic

#16

Sceptic said:

@WillhamBoyGeniu: Arguably that's precisely why they do. Take me for example. I expect those first-party titles to be more bland, overpriced rehashes of games I played half a decade or more ago. A demo may show me something different, but until then, 'Sochi' was all I needed to convince me that what good was coming to the WiiU wasn't going to be coming from Nintendo.

Kaze_Memaryu

#17

Kaze_Memaryu said:

The truth within this talking point weights heavily.
Nintendo makes themselves look arrogant when other developers release demos, while they're just relying on 'name sales'. They need to change that and support their own IP's better.
Also, I'm already loving the idea of having Iwata's Mii (and other folks, as well) stand in the middle of the Plaza for an announcement! They better get on it right now!

@WillhamBoyGeniu Not everyone. The young generation of WiiU owners might not have played Mario Kart 7/ Wii or Super Smash Bros. before. Besides, introducing new mechanics with a demo version would certainly help convince several doubters (like me).

Porky

#18

Porky said:

Touche @Sceptic I really wasn't considering those who played the earlier games and was on the fence on getting the next XD. But a demo should have limited times to be playable still so people won't buy the full game but keep playing the demo.

SilverArrow

#19

SilverArrow said:

To be fair, Nintendo never releases their big IP as demos or F2P*. The Wii Collection wasn't as big as Mario** or Donkey Kong Country, which is why we have Wii Sports Club and Wii Fit U. I wouldn't be surprised if they put Wii Party U up as a demo/F2P.

*For Nintendo, this means download for free and use limited things with the option to pay for the upgrade to full version, as seen in Steel Diver: Sub Wars.
**Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games is made by Sega with the use of Nintendo's IPs. Nintendo themselves did not make it, which is why a London 2012 demo is on the eShop.

AyeHaley

#20

AyeHaley said:

They should've made a DKCTF demo...I read so many negative reactions from people who haven't even played it. I wasn't even wowed by DKCR on Wii but DKCTF has got me hooked. Glad I took the plunge.

FSOE13

#21

FSOE13 said:

I remember how excited I was each month when Playstation Magazine came out because it had a demo disc full of awesome demos, some were very lengthy and provided many hours of enjoyment, and many led to me to actually purchasing the games. Nintendo needs to release a lot more demos as there is proof that when the demo is done right then this will surely translate to happy consumers and of course profits for them. I also remember how when I first got the Wii U on launch day I was like wow! they have beautiful demos! and I played everyone that came out even if I had no idea about the game as it can always lead to a surprise unintended purchase, but of course as we all know those demos started to slow and eventually stopped as the last one was Nano Assault and that was awhile ago.

I agree with sinalefa about Monster Hunter 3 which was a very poor showing of what appears to be an amazing game, and take Bravely Default as an example of a perfect demo, I couldn't stop playing it and bought it on launch day and couldn't be happier with my purchase, and all because I played a very well done demo.

In closing, hopefully Nintendo starts to realize how important demos really are and starts to change their attitudes going forward as there are many people who are literally right on the fence when deciding to choose which game they will spend their hard earned cash on, in which a well made demo could sway their decision.

ULTRA-64

#22

ULTRA-64 said:

I agree , more demos please. Pikmin is a prime example. I would have bought that ages ago if I'd have been able to try it first!!

Nintendo_Ninja

#23

Nintendo_Ninja said:

I agree that the major games on Wii U could benefit from demos. I also think things like dlc tracks for MK8 wouldn't hurt!

TreesenHauser

#24

TreesenHauser said:

Great article! And I completely agree with this. There should be more demos made available, especially on the Wii U eShop. While the demos that are out are terrific, Nintendo could really have something going for them if they put more demos out on the eShop, especially of their own games.

For instance, I really enjoyed ZombiU, but I bought it literally an entire week before a demo was made available for it. That demo should have been available DAY ONE, and I wish I had sampled it first. And it's embarrassing that the few third-party games that do make it on Wii U, have demos available on other platforms besides Wii U. Lego Marvel, Lego Movie, even download-only titles like Giana Sisters. Those all have PS3 demos but they're absent on Wii U. I know it's up to publishers/developers of those games to make it happen, but come on!

Luckily, DKCTF doesn't really need a demo because it's a terrific game and all, but I understand the need for first-party games to have demos as well.

EDIT: I meant to mention this before; friends of mine are surprised that the eShop doesn't have more demos out by now, considering the fact that Wii U's been out over a year. One of them looks at it as a bad sign for the console as a whole.

shigulicious

#25

shigulicious said:

Demos. Another thing that Nintendo neglects to its customers. And it would benefit themselves! Crazy. I would love to play a couple of levels of DKTF.

sonicriders

#26

sonicriders said:

In one sense, it's not like demos are really necessary for Nintendo's really bit retail titles. You don't need a demo for the latest Mario Kart or Smash Bros, because you pretty much know what to expect.

In another sense, this is precisely why I think Nintendo could benefit from more demos. As a consumer, I want to know why I should buy, for example, Mario Kart 8 when i already have Mario Kart Wii and MK7. Playing a demo would not only get me fired up to play it, but might entice me to buy it!

CDBz

#28

CDBz said:

I want there to be a Mario Kart 8 demo soo bad! I'd even be happy with just being able to do a time trial with Mario on the Baby Park course!

WiiULoveSquid

#29

WiiULoveSquid said:

Where we feel that Nintendo has a demo problem with convincing people to buy their games, Nintendo will feel that it's a brand issue - the brand isn't strong enough.

Both views are right of course, which is why it's slow going sometimes for Nintendo as it catches on to the tends and expectations of consumers today.

PinkSpider

#30

PinkSpider said:

I don't understand how we don't get new demos every week but xbox and playstation seem to get 2 or 3 every week.
What's the total demos on Wii U since launch less than 15 maybe
It's ridiculous and don't even start me on the limits, what actually happens when u reach your limit, is that it for good or if u delete it and reinstall it can u use it again?

AJWolfTill

#31

AJWolfTill said:

@FullbringIchigo Hardly, if you use it all up, it's clearly something you are invested in and should go buy it. The exception being Etrian Oddysey which had a ridiculous usage of 3.

Demos have persuaded me to buy so many games over the years. Fire Emblem Awakening (partly) Rythm Theif (entirely), Rayman Legends (entirely) Batman Arkham Asylum (largely) Dark Messiah (entirely) as well as Medievil and Abe's Oddworld despite purchasing them a decade after first playing them.
I will confess that the W101 demo might have somewhat dissuaded me from that game although it wasn't until that mini direct that I was interested in it anyway.

I seriously think a Smash Bros or Mario Kart demo would encourage a fair amount of people to pick up the system early which would lead them to picking up at least one extra game in the wait.

MrGawain

#32

MrGawain said:

To have frequent demos, you need frequent game releases.

I question if the Wonderful 101 or Monster Hunter 3 demos actually did either any favours for those absolutely brilliant games. They didn't build the 'journey' up slowly like both games do, and I think it would have been impossible to do so. Games like Mario or DK make more sense, as you could play 3 levels from across the game that are short enough so as not to damage the experience of the full game. But then do Nintendo really need to hype Mario or DK so people want it? Same for MK8 or Smash Bros. In fact if you can people a demo of these two with limited characters, they may just stick with the demo and not bother with the game.

I think for new IP, it's a great idea if they can get make a good demo. Also I think demos of eshop games we may not be exploring would be great. but you can't blame Nintendo not throwing good money after bad.

PinkSpider

#33

PinkSpider said:

Also how on earth are there 3 million wii u users that have not played mario 3d world, what the hell are they playing????

HAL9000

#34

HAL9000 said:

I run a videogame club at my school for 7th/8th graders afterschool. I recently upgraded our Wii for a refurbished $200 Wii U and am going to be using Rayman Legends, Mario 3d World and NES remix as our go to titles (good party games).

Demos for Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros U would be invaluable for building hype for those releases with the kids.

The author makes a great point about demos utilizing word of mouth and social media by consumers who are playing demo and then tweeting about it to spread the word. Word of mouth is gold in marketing. Look at the titanfall pre-release demo for example.

MJKOP

#35

MJKOP said:

I love the idea of Iwata in Mii form appearing in Wara Wara Plaza to point me in the direction of the latest whatever it is available! They should really do this, just... I don't know, a bit more effort in general to try and turn things around

WiiULoveSquid

#36

WiiULoveSquid said:

@PinkSpider I've been wondering that as well. Just freaking buy the game if you own a Nintendo console, lol. It is possible that they are all playing NSMBU as it has greater sales, and they don't need any more than that. Don't know how people buy that but not 3D World.

LetsGoRetro

#37

LetsGoRetro said:

Mario Kart 8 had better be the best In the series. First party titles for wii u have been low in both quantity and quality. NLand was decent & nsmbu, pikmin3 n 3dworld were good but there still arent any great must have titles after a quarter of the console's life cycle has passed (Nintendo consoles last 5 to 6 years, generally)

I understand the Nintendo faithful love some of the above mentioned but there's a reason they didnt give the system the boost it needed. Nowhere close. Nintendo is getting spanked this gen already and its their own faults. They need a lifeline.

Windy

#40

Windy said:

@sinalefa I'm actually going to skip Mario kart 8. I thought I would play more online Mario kart 7. The game felt kinda slow and sluggesh to me. I loved Mario kart DS and played that online for a good 6 months off and on. I guess I also feel like the game will more than likely feel the same as 7 with additional tracks. I also had a hard time with Animal Crossing. It felt like doing the same thing as previous games and didn't really feel different and I guess that might be my soul reason to skip MK8. I'm real excited for Mario Golf I've actually never played it before

ThomasBW84Admin

#41

ThomasBW84 said:

@sinalefa Good point on the eShop traffic. One that went through my head when writing this, but I missed it! Absolutely though, demos / trials get eyeballs onto the eShop, which is only a good thing.

ACK

#42

ACK said:

To be honest, downloadable demos have only prevented me from purchasing. I have literally never bought a game because of experience with a demo. Most demos I've played haven't even been particularly indicative of the quality and/or features of those full games.

One thing that does happen is I go crazy downloading demos and play them in place of a purchasing a new game. WiiWare demos were especially destructive, I stopped buying WiiWare games for awhile because I wanted to try all the many demos before making decisions. If a game didn't have a demo, I ignored it until one was added or I finally came to my senses. The result was missing out on many good games and a lot of time wasted playing poorly constructed demos.

Same thing with the 3DS. Not one of these demos has sold me on anything. Instead they just distract me from discovering the true hidden gems and make me averse to spending because my system feels full of un-played demos.

Gma-X

#43

Gma-X said:

For franchises like Mario Kart and Smash Bros. I don't think demos are needed, it's pretty straightforward.

I do agree that some games like DKC:TF could use a demo. Sure, I know I would buy it the moment I knew they were making a sequel, but that's me. Not everyone is convinced when they hear Donkey Kong or Mario, and it's seriously only beneficial to kick out some demos.

ledreppe

#44

ledreppe said:

I'm not bothered about demos for big Nintendo titles, I've played previous entries in many of Nintendo's franchises, so I already know pretty much (with pre-release internet coverage) what a Ninty game will be like. It's when I come across a game that is a new IP or a game that has drastically changed, that I'd want a demo before buying the full game.

ACK

#45

ACK said:

@unrandomsam You know, a demo of Code of Princess would have only stopped me from dropping a full $40 on a cartridge. The game lacks substance and gets old and monotonous after 20 minutes. The levels are terrible and extremely repetitive, the fps is bad, and the character's movesets are lacking and simply not very compelling. The only saving grace is playing co-op with my wife, but CoP is a case where I'm convinced a demo would hurt the cause. Especially considering the absurd hype and praise bestowed upon it around release.

ACK

#48

ACK said:

I love how many people claim they would buy such and such game if only a demo was released. Without knowing the quality or substance of the imagined demos, it's impossible to know how appealing they would be, let alone how representative they might be of the finished products.

The W101 demo cements this flawed logic.

EDIT: There's also a lot to be said for experiencing a game fresh. In this age of extensive previews, betas, YouTube, etc... I would like to savor the initial introduction to great game. I think having too much information before experiencing games is becoming a scourge.

sinalefa

#49

sinalefa said:

@Windy

I usually do not care about MK, but I find 8 graphically impressive. I did not play 7 that much, yet I never play anything online anyway. Since I skipped MKWii, then bikes are new to me, and they also added buggies.

@ACK that is the reason why I waited for a sale to get Code of Princess. Demos also helped me avoid Castlevania and Epic Mickey 2 on 3DS. The core gameplay is in them and I found them unappealing.

I wonder if Nintendo's reluctance to have demos of their first party games is linked to their reluctance of having sales of their first party games, or even the account system, namely feeling that their product is devalued by not charging full price. I wish they reconsider it this gen, because their games are more expensive now.

JaxonH

#50

JaxonH said:

@ACK

Agreed. Studies have shown demos actually hinder sales more than they encourage them, UNLESS, and here's the catch, UNLESS it's a very high quality demo of a high quality game.

I rarely download demos, unless it's a game I already plan on buying. Then I do it just to get an early taste. And I don't believe Nintendo games need demos, unless its a game relatively unpopular or new (W101 and Pikmin 3 would be good examples). Having said that, I guarantee, absolutely GUARANTEE if they put the first level of DKC Tropical Freeze up as a demo, everyone who played it would buy the game. Every last one. I'd like to believe Wii U owners are smart enough to realize how great the game is regardless- I mean, you don't buy a Wii U and then NOT by DKC. That's a little counterproductive, well, more than a little.

Gma-X

#51

Gma-X said:

@JaxonH

I agree, if they were to make a level public as a demo, I think more people would buy it.

Realistically though, I think you only have two kinds of people with respect to Nintendo. You either like Nintendo or you don't. Only people who like Nintendo in the first place bought the Wii U before any REAL games were out and I doubt someone outside that group would buy a Wii U for two (amazing) games and nothing more. Less and less third party developers want to work with the Wii U, so buying a Wii U is primarily just to play the classic Nintendo franchises. Knowing this, why release demos if you know that almost every Wii U owner will probably buy your game. I don't know if Nintendo thinks like that, but I would understand if they did.

It's a completely different story with the e-shop though. Demo's are very appreciated there.

Randomname19

#52

Randomname19 said:

I want really badly the Smash Bros 4 demo that Sakurai was playing at E3,not because I need to try the game first but because I can't wait for the game.

Cyberbotv2

#53

Cyberbotv2 said:

Demos are ok. But what about a pre order bonus on the eshop store. It would be a great way to keep pushing digital.

JaxonH

#55

JaxonH said:

@Gma-X

I don't necessarily agree with there only being 2 great Wii U games. There have been not one, not two, but three different people I work with buy a Wii U since it released, and that's besides myself of course. And a fourth has a bid on one on eBay right now. None of them were "Nintendo fans", and there is a lot more than 2 great games that appealed to them. I myself own about 35 actually, with more on deck pre ordered.

One guy (my friend and AVID Xbox and PC gamer), I told him how fun Pikmin 3 was, and how it was different than any other game I'd played before. Then he did some research, came to work and asked me about the Project P100 game, which I explained to be Wonderful 101. He of course went and played NSMBU at a kiosk and loved it, so bought a Zelda Wii U when Zelda Windwaker HD released. Since then, he's gone on to buy Super Mario 3D World, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and DKC Tropical Freeze, as well as a 3DS with Fire Emblem Awakening and Bravely Default. Basically did a 180 from Xbox gamer to Nintendo junkie in 30 days. That speaks volumes lol. He just didn't know Nintendo was making such great games still. When he owned a Wii (which is what turned him away from Nintendo), he didn't know about Xenoblade, or DKC Returns, or Metroid Prime 3, or Last Story. Since buying his Wii U, he has actually purchased all of those Wii games he never knew about.

Another guy was intrigued over Wii Sports Club Golf and how you play it with the Gamepad and Wiimote. He saw a trailer for Mario Kart 8, and I guess that's all he needed to know lol. Went and bought one the next weekend.

Another guy just likes the classic franchises- NSMBU, Zelda Windwaker, Super Mario 3D World, DKC Tropical Freeze, and I'm sure he'll be scooping up Mario Kart 8 when it releases. He didn't know Nintendo had a new console out, but once I told him it didn't take him long to get to the store.

This fourth guy, well, he hears me and my buddy (the first guy I described) talking Nintendo all day (since he works with us). Naturally, he started asking questions. He said he wants a new console, but doesn't like all the 'realistic war games' the other consoles have (his words, not mine). He said he looked into PS4 and X1, but none of the games appealed to him. Said he likes older games though. Once I told him the great games never stopped being made, and that you can still buy DKC, Mario, Zelda, Smash and Mario Kart, as well as VC games (told him full library in Wii mode, new ones being made for Wii U), he was all over it. Asked him if he ever owned a Wii, said yeah, loved Wii Sports. Said Wii U has a new one in HD with online, and explained the Golf and how it works. Well, like I said he put in an eBay bid already.

Wii U appeals to alot of people who aren't Nintendo fans- it's just that many don't know what it is or the games on offer. I'm telling you, once this guy wins that bid on eBay, that'll make FIVE people who own a Wii U at my work (myself included). Yet, I'm the only one at my work who owns a PS4 or Xbox One, and certainly the only one who's even heard of Vita, much less owns one. I don't think this is coincidence. I think the system really does have a good amount of appeal through it's games, it's VC (even if it's taking a while to fill out), the gamepad and off-screen play, and the lower price point.

Caryslan

#56

Caryslan said:

@JaxonH Here's the thing, I did not buy A Link Between Worlds until I played a demo at a Gamestop. I was on the fence about it, but after being burned by Spirit Tracks and Skyward Sword, I was not willing to take a plunge on ALBW even with all the praise that game was getting.

For me, it felt like Nintendo has gone the NSMB route with Zelda by taking an older Zelda game, and rehashing ALTTP with a new coat of paint.

It took me playing a demo to see the potential in that game, and I ended up getting it with my credit. Not only was I happy with my purchase, but ALBW restored my faith in the Zelda series. I loved that game.

And here's my point, I think demos help get people who are on the fence to buy a game. Had a Link Between Worlds gotten a demo on the eshop, I would have purchased it alot sooner(I got it this month). Also, Nintendo as unfortunate as it is, has to deal with the stereotype that their games are all rehashes of old games that came out in the 80's and nothing ever changes.

I think a demo could help shatter that illusion if done right. The store ALBW demo showed me that it was more than ALTTP with a new coat of paint. Once I played the demo, and I saw the creative ways the dungeons were done, I bought it.

Not that it would need the help, but as an example, Pokemon X/Y could have a demo that shows off new features like Mega Evolutions while shutting up the people who claim Pokemon never changes.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze could have a great demo that shows off one or or two of the best stages in the new game. Something to tell people that this game is not simply DKCR rehashed.

I think demos help consumers make a choice about a game, especially if they are on the fence. Videos and reviews can only show and tell so much. Sometimes, its best to have a sample of a game to just know how good it is.

And I don't buy those studies about demos hurting sales. I could maybe see a demo for a bad game turning off consumers or hurting sales. But for a high-profile or a good quality game? There is no way anyone can convince me a demo would hurt sales of those games.

I would even venture to say that having a demo helped the sales of both Fire Emblem: Awaking and Bravely Default. Demos are a marketing tool. If a demo is bad or is for a poor quality game, than yeah, the demos will help hurt sales.

But a good demo or one for a great game, can only help things. I wish Nintendo would embrace more demos for their games. Even for major series like Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon.

JumpnShootMan

#57

JumpnShootMan said:

I think Nintendo figures that with the well-known franchises, the number of people that will/ won't buy the game because of the demo evens out (i.e. the SM3DW demo confirmed to me it would be great; the Sonic Lost Worlds demo made me lose all interest in the game). So why waste the time and effort? But I think with new IPs in particular, this is a great tool because need to win over many more people, and it shouldn't be limited to just first-party titles. I have W101 and Rayman because I loved the demos for them. Plain and simple. That was the deciding factor.

Kirk

#58

Kirk said:

Demos...

Something else Nintendo doesn't see to quite understand.

JaxonH

#59

JaxonH said:

@Caryslan

I see your point. But sometimes demo's aren't that good. The W101 demo turned alot of folks off from buying the game, when in reality it's easily one of the best games on the Wii U. Now, to Nintendo's credit, they ARE running a free trial of Wii Sports Club (best kind of demo there is, wouldn't you agree?), and for Zelda Link Between Worlds they actually provided a downloadable video from the eShop with gameplay in 3D (looked exactly how it would when playing it), as well as for DKC Returns 3D.

So Idk, I agree if the demo is really good it can help, but many times the demos aren't that great. Not just W101, but also Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate demo didn't really do it justice either, and that's one of the best video games ever made. And I don't see that many demos for retail games on PS4, tbh. It's not like the other consoles have demos for every game, cause they don't.

I'm sure there are many like yourself that a good demo would help buy more games. But in doing so, they risk alienating even more people to not buy the game. So idk, it is what it is. Either way, I don't need a demo to know what's good. I don't use reviews and I don't judge based off hype (that's a hard lesson to learn and very prominent in the Sony/MS community where every game gets hyped to no end), I watch Youtube videos of gameplay. That method has never let me down before...

ToonLink795

#60

ToonLink795 said:

I think more demos would be great. I still have yet to pick up Super Mario 3D World. One reason because I was not big a fan on the whole cat ideal. When I first saw this game announced I was like really cat Mario lol. I also have not picked up DK Tropical Freeze mostly because I am not too big a fan of Donkey Kong. Over all I may get Super Mario 3D world someday.

hcfwesker

#61

hcfwesker said:

I wasted over 10 months not playing monster hunter 3U because the demo they had for it turned me, and many others away. When capcom had the recent sale i decided to get it for the heck of it. Since that sale, 6-8 weeks ago, I've clocked in over 300 hours into the game ( my fave WiiU game to date). Demos work, but they have to be done correctly. If monster hunter had done something different with the demo, like let you play all the LV1 village quests so you understand the game gradually, and the tutorial it provides on teaching you how to hunt and gather resources. Then when you get to the Urgent Quest and you get to the monster, it shows the video for that monster and the demo ends ... it would have had a much bigger impact and hooked players immediately wanting more.

Nintendo needs demos for all their 1st party games; it just shows how far behind in the times they are. They're so obsessed in putting so much effort into Wii Fit U and Wii Sports U they just don't get it that those gamers are long gone. Yes, they are fun games, but they are no longer system sellers like during the wii generation.

Unca_LzStaff

#62

Unca_Lz said:

Except most of their best-selling titles had no demos. I doubt trials and demos will make any difference

FJOJR

#63

FJOJR said:

I think Nintendo wants us to do the marketing for them in a lot of ways. There doesn't seem to be a good use of their platforms to message us on their own. Seems like they keep wasting opportunities and saying they will do stuff later and later rest her than just doing things now. Too tentative.

Cyberbotv2

#64

Cyberbotv2 said:

@Unca_Lz : I agree. It's the third party games that require demos on the Wii U. Many of the Wii U owners are hardcore Nintendo, and this might help with their intro to other games.

Kewlan

#65

Kewlan said:

Bravely Default's demo instantly sold me, and removed all doubts I had.

noctowl

#66

noctowl said:

They already have demos for so many games, it's insane they aren't available to download. DK, wind waker, Mario Kart 8, Pikmin 3 all have demos made. Just put them on the eshop!

Windy

#67

Windy said:

@sinalefa I really wish Nintendo would reconsider this Full price download only software they are starting to lean towards. No production costs alone should lower the price of a game. Release on Cartridge sure then Charge for it. I swore I would never download games but all that has changed. I've downloaded a ton but still prefer a cart anytime. I'm going to Miss Carts when they are gone cause that day is coming.

Emblem

#69

Emblem said:

I think MHU and W101 are a good reasons why demos are not always a good idea. Also from a marketing point of view demo's have yet to be proven to increase sales.

unrandomsam

#70

unrandomsam said:

@Unca_Lz No people want them to try and make sure they are not going to be ripped off. Whatever trust Nintendo had they have destroyed completely.

@Emblem All that has been proven is that if you try and give away the least possible amount and do a terrible job on the demo because of it then that is a negative influence. In the late 90's with a PC Magazine you got a demo of pretty much everything reviewed in the magazine (And I never bought anything without one) and that worked out just fine. Sega gave away the whole first disk of Panzer Dragoon Saga. (Anybody did a demo of that sort of quality these days I would be downloading the rest the second I finished the demo).

Diddy_kong

#71

Diddy_kong said:

I know for me the newest Mario Kart always sells itself; in my opinion few games out there are a 'sure thing' like Mario Kart is. But in general I love the idea of demos and trial periods. It's something that I take real advantage of on the PSN.

zool

#73

zool said:

The lack of Nintendo games is the issue, it is not that we have so many games to pick from that a demo would help .

Unca_LzStaff

#74

Unca_Lz said:

@unrandomsam Oh really? I couldn't tell from the millions of copies sold of said games. I didn't realize those people were "ripped off"

@zool Nintendo is steadily releasing titles for both the 3DS and Wii U. They can only do so much in a time period

AugustusOxy

#75

AugustusOxy said:

Demos sell games, always have. That is why they put up with having little kids destroy their controllers and handhelds at stores like walmart, because playing a game for five minutes can be enough time to say "God I need this!"

I would have never bought it any of those times if I hadn't had the opportunity to see if I liked it first.

mamp

#76

mamp said:

I don't know why they haven't released demos TBH we're at a point in time where demos are everywhere people even pay for demos now so IDK why Nintendo won't release any demos not like there's gonna be some major secrets in mario that can't be shown to people (Princess Peach kidnapped? NO WAY!). Also some fans are crazy enough that they'd pay for a Zelda demo (people paid $30 for MGS ground zero and it's basically a demo).

C-Threep

#77

C-Threep said:

I knew I'd get sm3Dw and dkc:tf eventually, but it wasn't till I played the demos at gamestop that I went out and bought both games a few days later.

Chi

#79

Chi said:

You have the nerve to post this topic during the free 3 day trial of
Wii Sports Club?
Total lack of apreciation-
Wii U Fit all over again!!!!
I for one, applaud Nintendo for continuing their sterling commitment to fans.

Henmii

#80

Henmii said:

Every game (retail, download, new and old) should have a proper lenght demo that you can always play! No more play limits!

The last batch of demo's I played on the 3DS where far to short! And it where demo's of mediocre games!

Bolt_Strike

#81

Bolt_Strike said:

Not really sure about the eShop, but the Gamestop in the nearby mall has demos for 3D World and Tropical Freeze, so it's not as if they're not out there, they're just only available in certain store kiosks.

Anyway, demos are nice if you don't know a lot about the game, but if you do, it's not likely to change your opinion. Pretty much the only thing you need the demo to sample is the controls, while graphics, level design, and to some degree gameplay can be observed through videos. So I don't think they would've helped sales too much.

And I also find the demo limit annoying.

accc

#82

accc said:

On a consumer level, demos are always a good thing. A rational consumer bases their purchase of a product on every piece of information available to them on the product and any/all competing products; the more information available to them, the higher the likelihood of them making a wise decision. By demoing a product, the consumer increases his knowledge of the product, and therefore his ability to make an informed purchasing decision. Anybody who argues against the use of demos is most likely a corporate shill who probably wanted to see Microsoft go through with their Xbox One DRM scheme.

For game creators, the use of demos can be a good or a bad thing, but I believe that demos have a positive impact on a game's sales the majority of the time. Even if a demo doesn't do a perfect job of selling the best aspects of a game, it still increases the game's exposure and allows potential buyers to experience the basic mechanics of the game first-hand. As long as those mechanics aren't total jank, players are going to have a positive experience with the demo more often than not, and become more likely to buy the game as a result.

As of late, I've been basing more and more of my purchases on demos. Sure there are some games that interest me enough that I buy them no matter what, but for games which I'm on the fence about, the demo (or lack thereof) is often the deciding factor. Recently I decided to buy Bravely Default thanks to its robust demo, and even more recently I picked up the puzzle game Wakedas after its 70-level demo left me wanting more. On the other side of the coin, I have yet to pick up Steamworld Dig due to it lacking a demo. While the game looks extremely polished to me, I'm unsure of whether or not its digging mechanics give the game enough variety to make it worthwhile. Until Steamworld Dig receives a demo, I do not have the assurance that I need about its enjoyability to justify spending my money on it.

unrandomsam

#83

unrandomsam said:

@Unca_Lz All I know is I got far less enjoyment by spending far more on Nintendo 3DS games last year than any other platform. Every release gives less and less. (Nearly all the 3DS stuff is pretty much a bad port of a Wii game). Least effort and the highest cost. NES games are more worth playing (And I don't like the NES at all).

Ren

#84

Ren said:

I don't see any argument here, really. How can there be any question that a demo will increase sales in GENERAL?
Sure, there will be the random game that confirms for someone it isn't for them or misrepresents the depth of a game but generally it will be more appealing to some of the players after having played it a little especially if the prices are a little lower to begin with, which is also something Nintendo doesn't seem to understand that everyone else on earth does.
At least for download only games, the lower pricepoint titles are a small jump from a purchase if it's even mediocre. When I finally got a 360 I played nothing but demos for a while before I bought anything and I then bought lots of games just from the demos; they're cheap and once I see evidence that it looks cool and half playable I download it (especially for the $10-20 ones). Sales, promotions, smaller games, and demos. People are all about a value proposition but Nintendo would rather sell a few 100k at full price than millions at lower price points and it's just archaic, arrogant business practice. It isn't a rolls royce it's a video game. Think it through and make some money; Nintendo has only dared to use this strategy on hardware and won every time but doesn't seem to get that this applies to every single games marketing as well. They killed their own wiiware service with this attitude. it's baffling. Give people a taste of what they want and they'll pay for the rest of it almost every time, it's not rocket science.

Then if the game sucks, you won't buy it. Don't blame the demo for that.

rushiosan

#85

rushiosan said:

Having a demo would help a lot to decide which games to buy, and which ones you should rent or borrow. I would never purchase Luigi's Mansion 2 by relying on critic reviews, but after playing it for a while, I can say it's at the top of my favorite 3DS titles. It could have been an instant purchase if I had the demo. New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Yoshi's New Island were both discarded before I put my hands on them (by just looking at youtube). However, Snake Eater 3D actually got me because of the demo (the reviews are full of hate and disencouraged me a lot). "Tasting" the game is extremely important to me...

rushiosan

#86

rushiosan said:

@Henmii They're afraid to lose money somehow. Sonic Lost World is a mediocre game but has a decent/fair demo. There's a strong replayability value in it. However, it's a crappy 10-time experiece instead of 30. It sounds like they're desperately begging you to but that bomb, they're tempting your soul with 10 tries. I vote for unlimited demos anyway, just saying...

SavoirFaire

#87

SavoirFaire said:

I think this article got the point, almost by accident: most Nintendo games don't need demos, they sell themselves. The games that probably could use a demo to promote themselves were done rather poorly. I find it hard to believe there are people on the fence about SSB or MK8, and I find it even harder to believe they don't have access to the internet to read articles about these upcoming games, or, when they are out, read reviews and see people playing it.

I will be the first to admit MH3 demo kept me from playing the game. This seems to be a non-issue except to give people another anti-Nintendo talking point.

Action51

#88

Action51 said:

The Wonderful 101 had a well publicized demo and it still sold terribly.

Super Mario 3D world and DK:TF did not have demos and they sold pretty well.

conclusion: I'm tired of articles that give Nintendo well meaning but ultimately worthless advice.

Bolt_Strike

#89

Bolt_Strike said:

@rushiosan They're not losing any money at all, actually. The ability to play the demo freely doesn't magically discourage people from buying, because if they liked the game, they'd probably pay for the full package. The only thing that would discourage a purchase is if someone went online and found out the rest of the game is crap, which would happen regardless.

They've already spent money to make a playable demo, why not let people keep it? I actually enjoyed the demo levels, but I don't think the rest of the game is worth paying for.

Dreamz

#90

Dreamz said:

@tom_q A very valid point. There's not just a demo draught, there's a lack of games in general for the U - full games, demos, and VC titles are all absent compared to the vast library that the Wii has.

Maybe it's just a complete failure in market savvy. I can't be the only person who would happily dish out cash for HD version of my favorite Wii titles (I'm looking at you, Other M and Skyward Sword). WindWaker HD's success should be practically beating them over the skull with a giant club that says "Helllloooooo! Giant money pile here, please retrieve!"

I've adored Nintendo since I was a child, but at times like this it really does seem like they simply don't want to make money, for reasons I can't really fathom.

gage_wolf

#91

gage_wolf said:

I've found many times that I end up not buying a game, that I may have normally, had I not been able to play a demo. I was super stoked for Wonderful 101 until I played the demo, and then my enthusiasm cooled very quickly.

Dragonxflame323

#94

Dragonxflame323 said:

I wholely agree with every point of this article, which was really well-written by the way. Nintendo has so much to gain from offering flexible demos for their finest first party games, and practically nothing to lose. I only hope they continue to be more flexible in the future, if Wii Fit U is any indication..

Pahvi

#95

Pahvi said:

@PinkSpider: I play, say, NES Remix, Warriors Orochi 3, Tank!Tank!Tank! and NintendoLand rather than SM3DW.

As for the topic: More demos even on high profile releases would be nice indeed - after getting burned hard with one new release based on just reviews and the hype, I'm twice as shy about other new games and very much doubting all the other ones I previously had slated for purchase (Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors).

Resident Evil Revelations (or whatever the game was) I bought only after trying out the demo. W101 I bought regardless of the demo. LEGO Marvel demo put me off enough to delay the purchase for the foreseeable future.

Another thing I'm thinking is how the lack of demos connects to review embargoes or comparable actions on new releases (I'm thinking of Yoshi's New Island based on the review scores - never tried it myself). While I think it's pretty unlikely Nintendo would publish something comparable to Aliens: Colonial Marines, I see little justification for having blind faith for any release being above forgettable (in personal opinion) "just because it's Nintendo".

Blue-Thunder

#96

Blue-Thunder said:

There will be no demo's of core in house Nintendo games and talking about it is pointless. It's not the done thing.

Next people will be telling Nintendo to make games for smartphones ;-)

JimLad

#97

JimLad said:

Man I gave up on this argument years ago. Nintendo will NEVER do demos properly, not unless maybe there is a change in management.
It's been a pipe dream for me ever since the 90s, when Playstation owners got free demo disks in their magazines. God knows how many great Nintendo games I missed out on because I never tried them.

Pod

#98

Pod said:

It's suggested by several recent studies that widely known games with demos sell notably LESS than widely known games without demos.

While SOME will be won over by trying out the game first, it seems a significantly larger amount of people will decide to NOT buy a game, or will hold off with it indefinitely, or will simply find that the demo was enough to sate their immediate interest in the product.

Nintendo is suspected of having been aware of this for a while. They will only do demos for their first party releases that really are hard to sell, where they estimate the demo will do more good than harm.

FullbringIchigo

#99

FullbringIchigo said:

@AJWolfTill but what if your on a limited budget and can't get the game untill months after release the demo may be the only thing keeping you interested and if you get locked out after a few uses you may lose intrest and never buy the game thus making it a lost sale

gatorboi352

#101

gatorboi352 said:

@sinalefa " I skipped both Monster Hunter 3 and Zombi U based on the demo."

Man, you missed out in regards to ZombiU. If you are even remotely a fan of survival horror, this is the game for you. It's also selling for under $20 on eBay and Amazon.

electrolite77

#102

electrolite77 said:

@Pod

All well and good but it's also self-defeating to be expecting customers to gamble on paying full-price for titles they then don't like. That's likely to put them off altogether.

Senario

#103

Senario said:

Usually don't rely on demos to make a decision in getting games. If I did I might have missed out on Monster Hunter 3 ultimate as the demo is kinda bad. If I don't know a series well I get it used somewhere and if I like it I get a new game when it comes out. Example was the mass effect series.

erv

#104

erv said:

Came here to see how far my ipad had to scroll to see the leave a comment box.

unrandomsam

#105

unrandomsam said:

@Falco The done thing seems to be changing all the time recently. If they bother to make them to run in demo units then choose to not even let them be made available when the work is already done that is up to them. (It is also up to anybody else to not buy the Wii U which is what seems to be happening).

Action51

#106

Action51 said:

@gatorboi352 rare agreement between us here.

I recently picked up Zombie U and realized what I was missing. My only complaint is the zombie models look pretty cruddy. The environments are nice and immersive though.

eviLaTtenDant

#107

eviLaTtenDant said:

I for one really liked the MH3U demo on the 3DS. Only having the actual fight without the need to go through a lot of stuff and get equipped got me really interested in the game. Had it been otherwise i doubt i ever would've cared.
The in-store demo of GameCube's Windwaker also made me want to get that console asap which really got me back into gaming after some years of only dabbling really.
While personally i'd like to see demos for Game & Wario, LEGO City: Undercover, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, Nintendo Land and Wii Party U i think about every Nintendo game could use one. Not to mention the lots of third party game's i'd like to see a demo of.

Pod

#108

Pod said:

@electrolite77
It's likely to make the customer invested in actually playing the whole game, which usually turns being a good time when talking Nintendo games. They're still in business after all, after having done things this way for thirty years.

But I totally know what you're saying. My skepticism has been bumped up considerably after things like Other M.

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